My boyfriend and I have been debating about sleep since we first started dating. He’s team “I’m good with 4-5 hours of sleep” and I’m team “I need 7-8 hours or I feel dead.” In my experience most people either prioritize sleep or are sleep deprived. I’m the type of person who needs deep, uninterrupted sleep to feel human in the morning. I have no idea how I’m going to deal when I have babies!
I used to be extremely jealous of people like my boyfriend. He has the ability to be perky after a couple hours of shuteye. Meanwhile, I’ve literally cried because I was that tired. People who can survive on limited hours of sleep pride themselves on having more time to accomplish things throughout the day. We’ve all been told that the early bird catches the worm but I doubt a sleep-deprived bird catches many worms. After doing some research on sleep, I’ve realized that a little amount of sleep has some serious implications and it can make you less productive in the hours that you are awake.
Research shows that when you don’t get enough sleep, it increases your risk for serious health concerns such as obesity, disease, and even early death. An inadequate amount of sleep can also negatively impact your memory, mood, appetite, and weaken your immune system. I know I can’t be the only one who feels super hungry, angry and overall irritated by everything when I’m tired. When you are sleep-deprived, your brain releases chemicals that signal hunger. This can lead to eating more, exercising less, and gaining weight. Alternatively, people who sleep too much—such as more than 8 hours can also negatively impact their health. The ideal amount of hours of sleep for an adult should fall between 7-8 hours.
Here’s four things you should STOP doing before bed:
1. Drinking caffeine too late in the day. It’s best to avoid caffeine 6 hours before your bedtime.
2. Eating sugary foods too late in the day (yes, that includes alcohol). It’s best to avoid foods and drinks with high levels of sugar a couple hours before bed.
3. Staring at a screen before bed. It’s best to put your phone and laptop down, and turn the TV off at least 30 minutes before bed.
4. Not getting enough physical activity throughout the day. Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep.
Here are four things you should START doing to obtain better sleep:
1. Schedule sleep like a meeting.
Prioritize sleep like you would an important meeting. Experts recommend waking up and going to bed at the same time everyday to develop a healthy sleep pattern. If you’re someone who tends to stay out late on weekends, this will be challenging for you. When I spend a night out, I make sure to sleep for the same amount of hours I would if I were going to bed at my usual time. That’s aided my sleep quality.
2. Relax for 30 minutes before bed.
Create a space for yourself that tells your body it’s time to prepare for sleep. Thus, develop a nightly routine where you stop working, watching shows, or scrolling on social media 30 minutes before bed. Instead try journaling, meditating, reading, stretching, whether it takes to calm your mind down. Many people complain that they can’t fall asleep because their mind is racing. It’s vital to practice mindfulness before bed. I love to use the Aura app and talk to a loved one, before I lay my head down.
3. Put your phone on silent.
I’ve heard plenty of motivational speakers suggest leaving your phone in another room and using an actual alarm clock instead of your phone. I’ve yet to invest in an alarm clock, so instead I make sure to put my phone on silent and place it on a surface away from my bed. That way I can hear my alarm but I won’t get distracted by alerts.
4. Maintain a sleep log.
Pinterest’s Top 100 Trends Report found that the best way to get adequate rest is to keep a sleep log. It sounds a bit odd but keeping a log has helped be become more accountable for my sleep. I simply write down the time I go to bed and the time I wake up each day. When I first started my fitness journey, I would keep a log of everything I ate and I lost 20 pounds doing that. If you have an iPhone, you can also utilize the Health app to analyze your sleep patterns.
Which one of these tips will you use to obtain a more restful night of sleep?